SIS Learning Outcomes
- Develop an IT system that satisfies a list of functional and quality requirements with a team. Student will practice their requirements gathering, analysis, design, implementation, testing and project management skills.
- Experience software development lifecycle using a methodology such as agile RUP. Student will experience a project from inception to construction and hopefully a taste of deployment.
- Build the additional depth required to become a Business IT professional. This includes building up competence in one or more of the IS depth elective courses, as well as learning domain knowledge by integrating technology into an industry sector.
- Manage the project. This includes managing scope, risks, schedule, code configuration, and quality of the project. Student will manage the stakeholders, which include users, testers, sponsors or mentors, supervisors and reviewers.
Retrieved from SIS IS480 Website: http://blue.smu.edu.sg/IS480/2012-2013/Objective.html
Personal Learning Outcomes
My greatest takeaway from this IS480 website is to learn how to manage a real-world IT project. Having past experiences in managing student projects, events and non-profit related activities (i.e. youth camps), I wish to gain specific skill sets from the IS 480 project:
- Motivating IT project teams
- Evaluating IT project ideas
- Client negotiation skills
- Time management skills
- Applied project management skills (and not just from textbook)
I intend to hone my skills through the privilege of being selected by my team to manage the project. Also, I want to ensure that my team members are able to meet their learning outcomes through the IS 480 project.
IS has taught me every aspect of the IT field from programming to project management. Through IS480, this is a platform that will validate my IS education and sum up my journey as an IS student. Having a real IT project and a real client, I hope to sharpen my knowledge and skill set through this journey and ultimately, to develop and grow into an IT-business enabler.
This is an opportunity to allow myself to learn about my own strengths, weaknesses and limits. I also wish to gain experience working with a real client and the dynamism of a real IT project environment. In addition, I hope to learn from my project mates as all of them have different expertises and through this journey, forging closer ties with them as well.
I feel that this is a fresh experience which allows me to work with an organize that is not profit driven, this leads to the organize having unconventional goals and their belief that value-adding which is of key-importance.
Also, I think that development in a new platform(mobile) is a great experience as the development on mobile and conventional workstation application have many differences, especially when the user's experience is a great concern.
I would hope to be able to learn lifeskills that are beyond the textbooks and exams. Having a real client to work with is definitely something that will value add to me to prepare me for the future.
Also, knowing that I am able to apply what I have learnt in SMU to make a difference is definitely a bonus.
Objective for myself in this IS480 project
- To experience working with a real client.
This is my first time working with a real client with regards to a project and this experience is something that i will not get in other modules.
- To work on a project that will benefit people both in the long run and short run
This project that i will look back,remember and tell my children that the time and effort spent on the project was justifiable and not full of regrets.
Objective for the team in this IS480 project
- Have fun working with one another and enjoy the whole process
We should enjoy the whole process of doing this project as we are creating something that will benefit people.
This is where we can tap into each other strengths and weaknesses and to form what is called box.us
Objective for the end product that will be delivered to the client
- Bugs free
- User friendly product
- High in quality
Ultimately,these are the skills that i would like to get out from IS480
- time management
- project management
I wish to experience real project interaction with real business clients, in a larger team. I have experiences in working IT projects during my work outside, but usually I'm always managing in a small team of 3. Having a larger team, I hope to learn how we can pull our complimenting strengths in a project and catch up with our weaknesses, to produce an awesome result altogether.
Technically wise, my work skills lies with PHP and HTML web apps, and also with Wordpress CMS. Hence for this project, I wish to learn more technical skills like developing mobile apps and/or try out various tech tools out there to increase efficiency of coding.
Final Presentation Learning Outcomes
As I review through my initial learning outcomes that I set out to learn, I felt that I have managed to meet these outcomes in the following way:
- Motivating IT Project teams: Bringing together people from different walks of life together to work on an IT project has sharpened my skills in handling with people and being more cognisant of people management issues and how to deal with group cultures and team norms
- Evaluating IT project ideas: FYP has taught me how to be aware of what are the current issues facing IT projects. It has taught me how to evaluate these and adopt a T-model by being able to think about what are the broad issues that are going to affect IT decisions and what are the deep issues that are specific to the issue being raised.
- Time Management Skills: FYP has taught me to be aware of the time that I spend managing the team, managing my own workload within the team and juggling my workload with my other modules that I was taking in school.
- Client Negotiation skills: I was able to apply the negotiation skills that I learnt from a module to achieve integrative outcomes for the client and the team, and what are the tactics that are readily available to deal with such situations.
- Applied Project Management Skills: The FYP experience has been an extension of what I have learnt in Software Engineering and I was able to refine my skills in scope management, schedule management and further extend the practicality of metrics being used within a project.
I started with a very simple learning outcomes - to learn life skills that were above and beyond exams/textbook as well as to apply what my education in SMU has taught me so far.
In my opinion, i have achieved that. However, the most valuable lesson for me was learning to deal with changes. In SMU, all our projects has a clear defined scope that stays constant from beginning till the end. But through this FYP, changes was probably the only constant (on top of dedicated team mates who were always there to go through each storm). Managing never ending changes was certainly not just about a "can or cannot" mindset. It really required me to understand the fundamental reasoning behind the changes requested and understanding it from a business view point.
With regards to my education, in a bigger picture, I have been able to apply the following
- Understanding and improving business processes: i was able to leverage on the knowledge I've acquired in Process Modelling and Solution Blueprinting (PMSB) to help out in understanding the business process of our client. In addition, I was able to give opinions on how the process could be more efficient.
- Understanding how IT and business value - As I had just completed Advanced Information Systems Management (AISM) I was able to apply the concepts of how IT can be an enabler and contribute in adding business value to an organisation.
- Presentation skills - In Management Communication (MC) we were taught how clear communication is essential be it verbal or presentation. I was able to apply skills I learnt from that module when communicating with clients, team mates or presentation.
As this FYP is coming to an end, these are the few learning points that i am taking it away:
- Time managment : Time management is very important as usually FYP work takes up a bulk of my time. Hence, it is very important for me to plan my time well for my other activities and my studies.
- Usability learning journey : My usability learning journey is interesting and exciting as i get to know more knowledge on usability through Interaction Design and Prototyping. It is definitely a good module to take as it complements very well with FYP.
At the start, I envisioned that IS480 is a platform that will validate my IS education and sum up my journey as an IS student. Boy! I got more than what I expected and was overwhelmed by the entire journey. IS480 does not only validate my IS education; it has shown me that what I have learnt in school is just a mere reflection of what the ‘real’ world is expected from an IS business enabler. In school, we often complain and whine about the ambiguity of project/assignment requirements and the number of changes our professors/instructors love to put us through. During this project, we encountered changes from the start until the end of the project. Each change comes with its own challenges and complexity and often, it derailed us from our original plan and required some rework. I have learnt to be more appreciative of what my school has prepared and put me through. Yeow Leong has always emphasized on “Managing your client” and I finally understood why he tries to push this point across badly in classes. From this project, I have several takeaways:
- Never stop learning: Initially, I thought I had the necessary skills and knowledge to handle this project. Instead, this project has given me a wakeup call. Every stage of this project, there are many challenges that were beyond my current capabilities and require me to push myself to learn more in order to meet our client’s requirements.
- Understanding business requirements: In any project, it is important to understand and clarify all the project requirements from your client and translate the solution properly in terms which the client can understand. At times, there were some misunderstanding about requirements and often led to disagreements and compromises. When communicating with clients, it is important to understand their needs and their understanding of their requirements. Often, clients do not know what they really want but they will know what they don’t want. Hence, it is important to ask the right questions and uncover all ambiguity.
- Team Dynamics: Team dynamics is the key to the success of this project and knowing my teammates is the best way to cultivate team dynamics. It is much easier to work and communicate with others once you get to know them personally and their working patterns. In addition, it will also result in lesser instance of conflict during project.
I think the IS480 project is a great experience for me as it is my first time implementing such a big solution in a team. Other than technical skills, I’ve seen how an organization like Empact progress together with the project, it seems like both the sponsor and the team work closely together to achieve goals for both parties.
I find that this is a great collaboration as both the sponsor and us are sharing knowledge with each other, after this project, I get to know more about how a social enterprise operates and also, the sponsor Peter did feedback that he learnt a lot of technical knowledge through the project.
I am also able to apply subjects that we‘ve learnt during curriculum put in use, such as project and process management and also see how case studies issues being showcase in real scenarios.
Throughout my FYP journey, I didnt expect to have learn so much by now. Initially I was expecting to learn more and hone my technical skills, and to learn to take on a big project in a bigger group.
Not only did I achieved what I was set out for, but I'm able to see clearly how applicable IS480 is in the real world and how I can apply what I've learnt in school to this project.
My other takeaways will be: managing expectations of the clients, taking feedback for usability improvements, setting priorities, and time management.
Through this FYP period, I've also see the importance of managing client relationship and to educate them on their needs and wants, and also what actually can be done so they can understand better. Last but not least, I'm able to experience the full SDLC of a project and it will be greatly useful for future real-life projects.